Glossophobia refers to the fear of public speaking or public speaking anxiety and the term was derived from Greek words glossa, meaning tongue, and phobos, meaning fear. As people having this phobia become nervous and start panicking when they have to speak in front of many people, it is also referred to as public speaking anxiety.
Most people feel nervous when they have to speak in public, but those who are glossophobic feel extreme as well irrational fear. Those afflicted with this phobia may avoid situations which require them to engage in public speaking, limiting their life as well as career options.
A person may experience public speaking anxiety because of many reasons and some of them may be very complex due to the interplay of many factors. A traumatic experience that a person had either during his/her childhood or adulthood can lead to glossophobia. Psychological conditions that a person may have can also cause this phobia.
Glossophobia Symptoms: The symptoms of speech anxiety include:
- Intense nervousness before public speaking; the very thought of communicating to a group can make a person very nervous.
- The tendency to avoid events in which the person is the center of attention among a group of people.
- Physical distress, feelings of panic, nausea, etc.
The symptoms that are more specific can be categorized as verbal, non-verbal and physical. The physical symptoms arise from the autonomic nervous system’s sympathetic response to the situation with a reaction referred to as “fight-or-flight”. The adrenaline rush that ensues serves to enhance the reaction, causing symptoms such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, dilated pupils, perspiration, dry mouth, etc.
Some of the verbal symptoms that a person may experience include vocalized pauses and a quivering voice, among others. The non-verbal symptoms may include frequent fidgeting, avoiding eye contact and wiping hands on trousers.
Glossophobia Treatment Options: It is estimated that about 75% of the people experience nervousness and anxiety when they have to do public speaking. However, many people are able to control or manage their fear. People who experience significant fear may have to undergo some kind of treatment to overcome the phobia.
The treatment options available are as follows:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: In this treatment method, people learn to replace their fear through positive self-talk. They will also be taught relaxation techniques and what they should do when they experience fear or panic.
Medications: Medications may be prescribed by a physician or doctor sometimes so as to help people get control on their fear. Typically, medications are used along with a therapy. Most often, medications or drugs such as beta-blockers are prescribed to alleviate physical symptoms. The beta-blockers act by binding themselves to the heart’s adrenalin receptors.
Complementary Therapies: Many people may derive beneficial effects from complementary therapies that include hypnosis, psychotherapy, yoga or meditation that help them to overcome glossophobia. Natural remedies that include use of herbal supplements, homeopathic remedies are also available for those who want to avoid any kind of medication.
Speaking Groups: Once a person who has glossophobia has been able to successfully work through his/her worst fears, he/she can join one of the speaking groups – Toastmasters International, Association of Speakers Clubs, POWERtalk Internal, etc. – to polish their public speaking skills.
Summarizing: Glossophobia is common, but in certain individuals it may become life-limiting. However, the treatment success rate is very high and the first step that the person who experiences severe anxiety, when it comes to public speaking, has to take is to consult a doctor or therapist or look at one of the online self help programs and beat your public speaking anxiety or phobia once and for all!
Fear Of Public Speaking – Self Help Treatment
Treatment Of Glossophobia: Do you ever panic at the thought of getting up in front of some people to talk? Is this a part of your job, but you just can’t do it without looking like a shaking leaf?
Some of us do anything we can to avoid speaking in front of people such as avoid social events, miss meetings, call in sick, ask someone to do the presentation for us, etc. That’s why there are a growing number of self help program available to help us beat the fear of public speaking anxiety.
Beat Your Fears recommends the following program. It will teach you how to be a confident and fearless presenter … you need never fear public speaking again and actually look forward to it and enjoy it!
Sounds too good to be true … check it out and see for yourself.